- Russian President Vladimir Putin announced new, supposedly unstoppablenuclear weapons that could hit the US in a matter of minutes.
- Putin may be overselling it, but Russia certainly has the nuclear-offensive capabilities to destroy much of the US, and there’s nothing the US can do to stop it.
- Yet the likely targets of a Russian nuclear strike would be counterintuitive, and places like New York and Los Angeles may be spared for more high-value targets in North Dakota or Montana.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russia had developed four new “unstoppable” nuclear systems devised specifically to render American missile defenses “useless” — and even played animations of launches toward the US.
The systems include a superfast underwater drone, a nuclear-powered “unlimited”-range cruise missile, a new intercontinental ballistic missile with several independent warheads, and a hypersonic missile to be fired from jets.
With most everything from the Kremlin, it’s best to take its claims with a grain of salt. But one thing is certain: In a full-on nuclear attack from Russia, the US has little chance to defend itself and millions would die almost instantly.
Since the Cold War, the US and Russia have drawn up plans on how to best wage nuclear war against each other; and while large population centers with huge cultural impact may seem like obvious choices, a smarter nuclear attack would focus on countering the enemy’s nuclear forces.
So although people in New York City or Los Angeles may see themselves as being in the center of the world, in terms of nuclear-target priorities, they’re not as important as states like North Dakota or Montana.
According to Stephen Schwartz, the author of “Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of US Nuclear Weapons Since 1940,” as the Cold War progressed and improvements in nuclear weapons and intelligence-collection technologies enabled greater precision in where those weapons were aimed, the emphasis in targeting shifted from cities to nuclear stockpiles and nuclear war-related infrastructure.
VIA : Alex Lockie
“This map shows the essential points Russia would have to attack to wipe out the US’s nuclear forces, according to Schwartz:
This map represents targets for an all-out attack on the US’s fixed nuclear infrastructure, weapons, and command-and-control centers, but even a massive strike like this wouldn’t guarantee anything.
“It’s exceedingly unlikely that such an attack would be fully successful,” Schwartz told Business Insider. “There’s an enormous amount of variables in pulling off an attack like this flawlessly, and it would have to be flawless. If even a handful of weapons escape, the stuff you missed will be coming back at you.”
Even if every single US intercontinental ballistic missile silo, stockpiled nuclear weapon, and nuclear-capable bomber were flattened, US nuclear submarines could — and would — retaliate.
According to Schwartz, at any given time, the US has four to five nuclear-armed submarines “on hard alert, in their patrol areas, awaiting orders for launch.”
Even high-ranking officials in the US military don’t know where the silent submarines are, and there’s no way Russia could chase them all down before they fired back, which Schwartz said could be done in as little as 5 to 15 minutes.
But a strike on a relatively sparsely populated area could still lead to death and destruction across the US, depending on how the wind blew. That’s because of fallout.”
The US has strategically positioned the bulk of its nuclear forces, which double as nuclear targets, far from population centers. But if you happen to live next to an ICBM silo, fear not.
There’s a “0.0% chance” that Russia could hope to survive an act of nuclear aggression against the US, according to Schwartz. So while we all live under a nuclear “sword of Damocles,” Schwartz added, people in big cities like New York and Los Angeles most likely shouldn’t worry about being struck by a nuclear weapon.
Russia’s State TV Instructing Russian Citizens To Start Prepping For The Armageddon!
Evidently, the Russians are being instructed to prepare for Armageddon.
Russia’s State TV is broadcasting instructions for survival in a bomb shelter.
Will you ever hear or see this on American mainstream news? No. Never. However I found it surreal to watch/listen to what the Russians are telling their citizens today (actually yesterday). Yes this is really happening.
For the next four and a half decades, military officers in the United States and the Soviet Union would create and tinker with plans to fight a NATO-Warsaw Pact war. For the United States, this meant seeking in vain to offset the Soviet Union’s numerical advantages without resorting to nuclear weapons early in a conflict.
Although successive U.S. administrations came into office vowing to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in America’s military doctrine, this proved impossible before the Reagan administration, when the revolution in precision-guided weaponry offered Washington a way to defeat the Soviet military juggernaut.
Although the Soviet Union’s specific war plans, like America’s, remains classified, historians have been able to more or less ascertain how the Soviet army would have fought by using archives released by former Warsaw Pact member states like Poland and Czechoslovakia.
These reveal that, while Stalin was alive and through the 1950s, the Warsaw Pact maintained an almost entirely defensive posture aimed at protecting member states from a Western invasion. Likely reflecting America’s massive nuclear superiority at the time, these war plans did not envision the use of nuclear weapons in any capacity.
It was only after Stalin died, and specifically in the 1960s, that the Soviet Union designed new war plans. These were decidedly offensive nature and envisioned a blitzkrieg-type assault that allowed the Warsaw Pact to conquer most of Western Europe in a matter of days. It amazingly sought to integrate the liberal use of nuclear weapons with the Warsaw Pact’s formidable conventional military might.
Specifically, the Soviet war planners (rightly) anticipated that the United States and its allies would resort to the massive use of nuclear weapons early in the conflict. As a result, they hoped to preempt their use in order to protect Soviet and Warsaw Pact territory.
Regardless, nuclear weapons were a central part of the Soviet Union’s strategy to conquer all of Western Europe. As War Is Boring has pointed out, on the Northern front alone, “Warsaw Pact plans called for 189 nuclear weapons: 177 missiles and 12 bombs ranging in yield from five kilotons—roughly a quarter the size of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima—to 500 kilotons.” Additional nuclear weapons would have been used in the Central and Southern fronts as well.
Just one day before Putin’s remarks, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told a UN conference that the US helps Europe prepare for nuclear strikes on Russia. “Non-nuclear states plan and take part in the US exercises and learn how to use the nuclear weapons,” he said, adding that the US having nuclear weapons in Europe “is not only a rudiment of the Cold War but an openly aggressive position.”
It’s widely believed the US has at least 20 nuclear weapons in Germany, but US officials consistently decline to confirm that. The US has also placed multiple missile defense systems in Eastern Europe, including in Romania, worrying Russia that Western powers threaten its territory. However, there is no indication America has plans to bomb Russia anytime soon.
But Russia certainly worries about America’s nuclear weapons, especially after the US released a new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) in February. The Pentagon report details America’s desire to develop newer and smaller nuclear bombs, in part to make them more usable.
That, the administration’s argument goes, might deter further Russian aggression. Recall that Moscow actively works to destabilize Western democracies with sophisticated online campaigns to tilt elections toward Moscow-friendly leaders and political parties. It also conducts large-scale military exercises near NATO territory, threatening European countries in the Baltics, or even non-NATO counties like Moldova or Sweden. And Russia still retains control of Crimea, which it seized in 2014, and remains in Ukraine to this day.
Russia-watchers say Putin likely had the NPR in mind when delivering his speech. “I bet it was an indirect response to the NPR,” a senior Senate aide who focuses on defense tells me, but the main goal was “to bolster himself in front of Russia and respond to the US.”
So it looks like Putin chose to answer America’s desire for new weapons with his own weapons display. Now the question is: How much do Putin’s new weapons threaten the US and its allies?
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